India posts 6.1 pct quarterly growth

NEW DELHI, August 31, 2009 (AFP) – India’s economy expanded by 6.1 percent in the three months to June, picking up pace from the previous quarter as the country emerged from the global downturn, official data showed Monday. The quarterly growth figure was up from the 5.8 percent growth posted in the March quarter, but analysts say a widespread drought could weaken momentum in coming months.

The data announced by India’s Central Statistical Organisation was broadly in line with analysts’ forecasts of around six percent growth. The economy grew by 7.8 percent in the same year-earlier quarter.

Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee has projected growth of “six percent plus” for the fiscal year to March 2010, down from the 6.7 percent logged last year and far below scorching annual nine percent levels in the previous three years.

However, India has weathered the global economic downturn far better than many of its Asian counterparts that fell into recession, thanks to its still domestically focused economy.

But the worst monsoon in at least seven years has sparked concern about growth expectations in an economy where rural demand is a key consumption driver.

Last weekend, Prime Minister Manmohan Sing